CHENNAI: When sweets, mikes and cameras reached the Indian Red Cross Society, the man of the moment was standing there attending calls from the kith and kin of deceased persons seeking help to transport the bodies of their dear ones.
P Ruban Santhosh, a 30-year-old from Dindigul, had just received the Chief Minister’s State Youth Award from Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa only a few hours earlier.
Hailing from Murugathuranpatti village in Nilakottai in Dindigul district, Ruban came to Chennai to pursue his postgraduation. “Because of poverty, my parents were unable to afford the education of the three children – my elder brother, sister and me. Since I was very passionate about football, I started playing the game when I was in Class VI. Having won many district and State awards, I managed to complete postgraduation with the help of different people,” says Ruban.
“There have been times when my family ran out of food; I had to wait till my school could provide me free meals. This is the main reason I chose to help people and joined the Red Cross Society in 2011,”says Ruban.
Ruban is currently the programme coordinator for the free mortuary van services provided by the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project. He attributes his success to a bunch of people, highlighting the role played by Dr Harish L Metha, chairman of the Indian Red Cross Society who has been supporting him from the very beginning. “Every day, my team ensures that at least 250 to 270 bodies from various government hospital are transported free of cost to their kith and kin across the State. This scheme is funded by the government; my role is to ensure that victims’ families are not put in much distress and benefit from the service,” he adds.
“During my free time, I like to visit the government hospital and educate the people on the various government schemes that are available. Apart from this, my aim is also to encourage children to sharpen their sports skills,” adds Ruban.